April 22nd 2011 08:25:43 AM
There have been countless op-eds written in the past few weeks comparing Libya to Kosovo. What’s interesting is that the comparison holds regardless whether the writer is making the comparison to warn against, or to advocate in favor (i.e. the same people who were wrong about Kosovo and still don’t know it are eager to be wrong about Libya).
I’ve stayed away from the issue, not only because I’m not interested in sorting out Libya as anything other than just another pathetic and dangerous Muslim country (apologies for the redundancy), but also because absolutely nothing compares to what we did to the former Yugoslavia. HOWEVER, upon reading one of these interchangeable and forgettable Libya/Kosovo analyses, I read a sentence that made the red dye jump off my hair. It was on a US News & World Report blog, by one of those ‘legit,’ mainstream journalists — and it comes at the end of the excerpt below, though the earlier parts are also worth ridiculing:
Libya is More Like Kosovo Than Iraq or Vietnam (March 29), Susan Milligan (Susan Milligan is a political and foreign affairs writer and contributed to a biography of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy.)
No one wants “another Vietnam,” the buzzphrase for a protracted conflict with no clear mission or definition of success. And no one (anymore) wants another Iraq….Nor does anyone want another Bosnia, where the international community dithered for a year while former Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic slaughtered [sic] his own countrymen.
Libya isn’t Vietnam or Iraq or even Bosnia; it’s probably closer to Kosovo, where international intervention stopped a systematic [sic], ruthless [sic] murder [sic] of Kosovar [sic] Albanians by Milosevic as he sought to thwart an uprising by the Kosovo Liberation Army. As terrified Kosovars [sic] poured over the border into Albania, or tried to stay alive by hiding out in their basements, they would plead with foreign journalists. Where was America? Where was NATO? My translator at the time narrowly escaped death in his home town of Pec when a Serbian soldier took him behind his family home, drawing a butcher knife from its sheath and preparing to cut his throat. He was saved only by a last-second intervention by a local Serb who happened to like him (officially, the Serbs and Albanians hated each other, but inside neighborhoods, they often got along).
Indeed. As they still do in southern Serbia’s Presevo Valley, against all Albanian and international efforts to stop that. Note: There was a lot of that Serbs-saving-Albanian-neighbors going on, including by the Serbian monks and bishops who sheltered Albanians in the Serbian monasteries that Albanians have since destroyed. In contrast, there was little neighborly protection once we handed the province to the exponentially more terrifying KLA, with regular Albanians instead joining in the terrorizing.
Without saying whether she herself witnessed the following, or engaged in the standard journalistic practice of just taking the Albanian’s word for it, the writer continues:
The ethnic Albanians were then loaded onto an open cart and driven over dirt roads to the border, where they were to be deposited into Albania. En route, paramilitary attempted to pull a young woman off the cart, and her family feared she would be raped. People on the cart gripped one of her arms, while the Serbs tried to pull the other one. Angry, one of the paramilitary shot one of the men trying to protect the young woman.
As they neared the border, my translator looked to the side of the road and noted what appeared to be a pile of clothes — abandoned or stolen, he assumed, as residents were pushed out. As the cart got closer, he saw it was a pile of bodies.
The NATO bombings in 1999 eventually stopped [started] the slaughter. Albanians — both in Kosovo and in Albania — were effusively grateful, painting “thanks you Klinton,” and “thanks Olbrite” on stone walls in Tirana….Not only was a bigger death toll averted [caused], but the mission gave locals an impression of the U.S. military as savior, instead of aggressor.
This is what is meant by the term “humanitarian mission” in Libya. Muammar Qadhafi, if it’s possible, appears even more brutal and mentally disturbed than Milosevic (who was dragged off to the Hague for war crimes prosecution, and committed suicide while in custody). While Milosevic was intent [sic] on ethnic cleansing, Qadhafi has made it very clear that he intends to destroy the “rats” who dared to challenge his dictatorial regime…
So the Washington Times’ Eli Lake doesn’t know that the four-year-and-counting Milosevic trial ever took place (he “died awaiting trial“), and this one thinks he committed suicide after another day of embarrassing the prosecution. So yet again, it was Milosevic whodunnit. The “Butcher of Belgrade” responsible for every death is also responsible for butchering himself.
Such are the “reputable” journalists. If she can’t even get the widely reported official cause of death right (”heart attack”), how can we trust what she thinks she saw in Kosovo? And why would anyone listen to her stock Balkan analogies?
As for this writer’s conclusion about things likely going as swimmingly in Libya as they did in Kosovo, there was an equally, indistinguishably brilliant analysis from Max Boot, formerly of the Wall St. Journal and now naturally of the Council on Foreign Relations:
It may also be necessary to send arms and Special Forces trainers to support the rebels. Without committing any combat troops of our own, we could deliver the same kind of potent combined-arms punch that drove the Serbs out of Kosovo when NATO aircraft supported ground operations by the Kosovo Liberation Army.
The Libyan opposition movement, led by Gadhafi’s former justice minister, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, has been desperately asking for international aid in the form of a no-fly zone. If we finally delivered, you can bet that he and other Libyans would be grateful. Kosovo’s capital, Pristina, today has a major thoroughfare named Bill Clinton Boulevard crowned with a 10-foot statue of their savior.
It is not far-fetched to imagine a Barack Obama Boulevard in Tripoli if the president finally finds the courage to act. If he does not, you can bet that his name and that of the country he leads will be reviled by democrats across the region — not only in Libya.
You hear that? Muslims will be grateful! Otherwise, we risk Muslims not liking us! Somehow, the usual equation of us helping them and them not liking us isn’t going to happen this time. In fact, the whole rationale, at least early on, for helping the KLA was so they wouldn’t seek that help from extremists. Which to the KLA meant double help — from the U.S. and from extremists, crowned with 400 or so new mosques dotting Kosovo alongside Bill Clinton Boulevard, George Bush Street, Eliot Engel Blvd, Albright Avenue, William Walker Way and Bob Dole Flophouse.
As Jim Jatras responded to this opinion collective:
…In each case, an armed intervention justified as “rescuing” or “liberating” Muslims paradoxically resulted in greater Islamic rage against the United States. In each case, the hoped-for “democracy” – at least recognizable to Western eyes – eluded us. And in each case the resulting social order was more oppressively Islamic, as measured by treatment of women and non-Muslims.
For example, in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Islamic militancy was suppressed (along with other opposition forces) and women went unveiled. Now, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers, half of Iraq’s Christian population has fled in terror from Muslim militants and women had better cover up if they know what’s good for them. Similar patterns can be discerned in the venues of other interventions, notably the near-eradication of Orthodox Christian Serbs in areas of Kosovo under the control of Muslim Albanian drug, slave, and organ-traffickers. Already in post-Mubarak Egypt constitutional “reforms” favored by the Muslim Brotherhood have been approved by referendum, and fears are rising for the future of Coptic Christians — the largest remaining Christian population in the Middle East. Aside from the serendipitous fact that Libya has few Christians to persecute, prospects for a post-Gaddafi “democracy” in that country are decidedly slim.
However, in Western thinking, the repeated failure of a policy evidently is considered insufficient grounds to abandon it. With respect to Libya, perhaps policy-makers in Washington, London, and Paris calculate that this time for sure the Muslims will love us, no matter how many of them get killed along the way. This time for sure, when Gaddafi is gone, Islamic “democracy” will look a lot like Switzerland. (Just as it has in Gaza, where “democracy” has empowered Hamas, or in purple-fingered Lebanon, now under a Hizballah-led coalition). Each time we are surprised and disappointed, but we never learn. When the Muslim Brotherhood takes power in Egypt — and in Libya, in Yemen — Power and company will also be very surprised and disappointed.